All requests for references should seek objective verifiable information as far as possible and not only subjective opinion. The use of reference proformas can help achieve that.
A copy of the job description and/or person specification for the post for which the person is applying should be included with all requests, and every request should ask about the referee's relationship with the applicant, e.g. did they have a working relationship and if so, what was it; how long has the referee known the applicant, and in what capacity.
Satisfy yourself that the reference from the current or most recent employer is from an appropriately senior manager and it is not a reference from a former peer operating at the same grade.
Employers should have clear policies about what level of staff can draft and sign off references on behalf of the employer.
Use the reference to specifically ask about the issues of safety (previous disciplinary issues, dismissals, demotions) and any competencies which may be difficult to address though a selection process (e.g. team working; tenacity; adherence to regulatory codes of practice). Your references should definitely include a check with a previous employer(s).
You should seek a minimum of two appropriate and relevant references, one of which should be from the current or most recent employer (if they have been previously employed). If this is not possible you should be satisfied there is a good reason for this and record why in the personnel file.
It is acceptable to receive references by email, even where there is no e signature. It is your responsibility to ensure the authenticity of the referee and to give the Care Inspectorate access to these references upon request.
All references, paper or email, must be stored securely.